Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Improved ferries reduce road freight

An EU-funded project helped further the better design of ferries. Advances in this area have the potential to reduce the amount of freight carried on Europe's roads.
Improved ferries reduce road freight
The 'Logistics-based design' (Logbased) project examined four case studies to test and further develop ship designs, taking into consideration the routes they sailed. This is important as development of more efficient roll-on roll-off (ro-ro) ferries is vital to effective intermodal transport around Europe.

The first study was based on a ro-ro ferry route between Spain and the British Isles. It was hoped that the service would provide four departures a week and customer savings of 30 % in port costs. The ship had to possess adequate capacity and speed and be able to cope with all kinds of weather conditions. The main innovation was the vessel's optimisation for three different modes of operation, allowing efficient operation under all types of conditions. By simplifying the ship's design, capacity was increased by 10 %, despite its volume being smaller than comparable competition.

Project partners also examined a service based in the northeast Baltic, focusing on cargo volumes and the frequency of sailings.

Researchers carried out the Hydro case study on a service that operated among the cities of Bergen, Haugesund and Stavanger in western Norway. This service centred on aluminium cargo and general cargo in trucks. The operator sought to replace the existing vessel with a liquefied natural gas (LNG)-fuelled cargo ship, which would help keep down fuel emissions and the cost of transporting freight.

Sea transport services between Germany and Norway were investigated in the Rhine case study in order to limit harbour time and reduce customer costs. The main requirements for the vessel were adequate capacity, shorter periods in harbour and greater frequency of departures.

Challenges for ship designers included the fact that the possibility of aft loading was only available in some ports; therefore other means of loading had to be considered. Additional innovations included the option to choose environmentally friendly gas machinery without loss of capacity.

The Logbased project will help improve sustainability together with the quality of life, and the health and safety of EU citizens. This will be achieved through a reduction in the amount of road freight crossing the continent as improved ferry services result in more efficient intermodal transport for Europe.

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